Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

Willabah School (MissOgden’s School) (1894-1902)

 This school was located in Mary Street, just behind the later built Higgins General Store on the corner of Mary Street and Beecroft Road. It was founded by Sarah Emily Constance Ogden who was only 19 years of age and her 17 year old sister Gertrude. While initially classes were conducted in the Ogden family home a small weatherboard school room was soon built and
remained on the site until the 1970s.

The curriculum for girls at the school had an emphasis on music and teaching. Both of the sisters had graduated from what is now Sydney Girls High School.

Constance sold the school following her sister’s marriage.

Ravenhurst College (1903-1909)

Miss Elise Simpson purchased Miss Ogden’s School, changed its name and relocated it to a new home on Beecroft Road between Wellham and Kirkham Streets. Miss Simpson had been a teacher with Miss Ogden and was also a ‘matriculant of Sydney University.” Advertisements for the school imply that it took boarders and continued to have a curriculum centred on art and music.

Miss Simpson sold the school in 1908 for health reasons. It was purchased by Mrs Eleanor Dow. Unfortunately there were two fires lit at the school by a 9 year old male boarder and these led to the school’s closure.

Beecroft College (Miss Long’s School) (1904-1921)

Beatrix Frances Helen Long and her mother Helen commenced a school in their homes on Beecroft Road – eventually moving into the building now being the second house on Beecroft Road north from Copeland Road. Miss Long had been a dance teacher in Miss Ogden’s School having learnt to dance with the children of the then Governor of NSW, Lord Carrington. Her father had been a
medical practitioner in Marrickville but had lost his money during the 1890s depression and died in 1906.

The school may have had as many as 100 enrolments at its most popular. While boys were enrolled in kindergarten it only took girls in the later years.

Miss Long sold the school in 1915 to Mrs Florence McCarty.

Beecroft College 1910.

Mrs Helen Long and her daughter Beatrix on the verandah.

 Beecroft College 1910

 Ellswood College (1910-1913)

The school was founded by Mrs Mary Boylson in Malton Road. In 1912 it had 15 students enrolled. At least two of Mrs Boylson’s daughters also taught in the school which specialised in music. In 1910 one student graduated in the Trinity College examination.

Tragically Mrs Boylson was killed while crossing the railway line at Beecroft at dusk on 15 July 1913. While her daughters carried on the school it appears to have closed shortly thereafter.

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